Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My experience with Flourouracil 5% cream for Actinic Keratosis (pre cancer) areas of face FLUOROURACIL

I began using Flourouracil 5% cream due to a 2nd suspected actinic keratosis
on my face. I'm 49, I live in the south have a pale complection.
I found a pretty good video explaigining what the treatment consists of and some of the other options for Actinic Keratosis (pre cancer) here.

I began treatment on Jan 15, 2014 after making sure all social interactions were done with after the holidays.
I applied the cream on nose and cheeks once daily for 14 days and then continued to apply it for another 4 days on areas that had failed to react.
I was extremely apprehensive before beginning treatment due to several blogs and message boards on the net about people's experiences. and I was expecting the worst.  Expecting it and going through it are  2 different things and I wanted to write about my experience. I also wanted to document the healing process since I have not found much information about what to expect once treatment has ended.
These 2 products will be your best friends during treatment. Along with a few cosmetic products I'll talk about later.  Both of these can be found at the drug store. The cetaphil is for daily cleaning and the Aquaphor is a very soothing product that you can use
Please consult with your doctor first for directions on using these products, or anything I mention in this blog. This blog should not be used as a substitute for Medical advise. It is simply a journal of my personal experiences.

 I started taking photos on day 8. The first week was fairly uneventful,  with only small areas of red showing up. Mostly around my nose. 
Note:  I sleep with a cpap machine, and I used it the first 2 nights... Don't! I'm almost certain that the reaction around my nose is due to the cpap mask. If you sleep with anything on your face, talk to your doctor about it before you begin.  Eye glasses can also cause irritation where they rest on the nose.

You can click on any photo below to enlarge,

Photos on left are without makeup, photos on right are with makeup
 (ask your doctor if you can use makeup)
Day 8
By day 8 I'm starting to see a lot more redness, mostly still around my nose. I'm still able to cover well with makeup and I do my normal activities.

Day10, The show begins. I'm red, my skin is tight and puffy, and the area around my nose is feeling very chapped. Still able to cover with make up and go about my day as usual. I'm a little more tired in the afternoon. Advil keeps most of the discomfort at bay. I applied Aquaphor in the evening and it made a huge difference. I almost "felt" normal.

Day 11 -  Woke up with a lot of redness in new places. All along cheek and under my eye. My Nose is starting to show some reaction as well.  Close up photo shows some small areas that are actually turning brown. You might need to click photo to enlarge. These areas were the first to respond and I will probably discontinue the cream on this area at 14 days.  Still able to cover enough with makeup to feel less self consciousness in public.

Day 14 - Jan 28, 2014, Technically I could discontinue treatment after today. I'm seeing some flaking, and the first areas to turn red, are quite chapped and dry and they do hurt. However Aquaphor  soothes them very nicely and I can almost feel normal. I may not look normal but I can feel normal. Since my treatment was prescribed for 2-3 weeks,  I've decided to discontinue using the cream on the worst areas, but to continue on some of the areas that have failed to react. Specifically my lower cheeks and nose.
 (curiously where one of my original trouble spots was seen, has failed to react at all)

I discovered that if I mix my Mary Kay yellow concealer with Aquaphor and make a paste, it is both soothing and concealing.   I just played with it and found a consistency that I liked. It's not perfect, but allows me to go to work and get to my desk without scaring any one too much. I have not yet missed any work, but it's not always comfortable. Photo on  right is after only using the home made concealer concoction. Add some foundation and blush to this and I'm even more presentable.
Use the soft brush to dab, not rub the mixture onto the red areas, use your fingers too if you dare.  Continue dabbing till you get the coverage you want. Remember it will not be perfect. Your skin is not smooth and it's very hard to cover texture. You are just trying to tone down the redness. Once you have it how you want it, dab your foundation in the same manor and then add a little blush to your cheeks as needed. Go ahead and fix your hair and eyes, and get dressed, and make yourself feel presentable.
It will help you to have a better day, if you feel good about yourself.


 You should start using a sun screen moisturizer like this one if you have not already started. Use it under your make up every day. Guys too, it has no color, but it will definitely protect your face from sun exposure. Add it to your daily routine.
Jan 29th Day 15
The left side of my face did not  have as much of a reaction, as the right side, Before and after makeup photos above of the left side. (note iphone pictures are reversed)

Jan 30th-day 16  Healing around nose and under eyes. Still treating cheeks and nose, but not seeing as much of a response.

On a side note, I began to have some severe muscle aches around this time. I'm unsure if it had anything to do with the treatment, but felt I needed to mention it.
Jan 31 day 17. Something got on my lens I guess and made these photos fuzzy, I kinda like the effect :)  
Healing and peeling continues around nose and under eyes. Hard to see but on the left side under my eye (actually the right side of my face) I had a strong reaction.
 Still itchy, still tight, using aquaphor as much as needed, but it's much more tolerable than last week.

1 Week healing
7 days healing with help of Desonide Cream

I'm continuing to heal, Left Feb 5.  Although I'm still pink/red the discomfort is for the most part gone. My skin continues to flake but does not hurt as much. I applied some Desonide cream to speed up the healing after reading that others have used it with doctors permission, and I had a little bit left in an old tube. It really helped and I highly recommend a call to your doc for a prescription of this miracle healing cream.  As of day 10 of healing, I can easily cover with makeup and it does not sting any more, and go out and about with confidence.  My son even said I looked good with a little color in my cheeks LOL.  The new skin is so soft, but still pretty pinkish. I have a couple of areas that are still a bit crusty, under my eye, on my nose (already formed AK's in those 2 places) and a dark spot I've had on my cheek for years really reacted. I hope when it heals it will no longer be a dark patch. Puffs under my eyes have gone down as well, which means swelling is subsiding.

2/10 red, peeling and healing

Feb 9, Peeling on nose, healing on cheek

It's now one year later. It took several months for all the redness go completely go away, but it was no problem to cover with makeup. My skin just likes to stay red when injured.  Doc said I had a good reaction and she was pleased. I've had no problems since I finished the treatment.  You can do this!!!!


suzieQ said...

How kind of you to show this process for the education and support of others. Now that I think of it, I believe my late husband had precancerous spots on the side of his nose...
Best of luck with your treatments!

Rita C at Panoply said...

Margo, my husband did this same treatment last year, same timing and thought process. I took photos, and his was much like yours. It sure beats having to have areas cut off (which my husband has also had done, with plastic surgery grafting afterward on his nose, as well as his shins of his legs). Best wishes for good results!

Susan said...

Thank you for sharing your photos. I am on day 9. So dry especially around my mouth and chin. The areas that were least protected while wearing a baseball cap in the summer. I may have looked cute but it offered little protection to my cheeks, chin, lips and neck areas. I've always used Clinique products. Using Moisture Surge over the Flourourcil but may need something stronger. Just don't like petroleum based as they break me out. Can't wait to see your end results!

Susan said...

You are looking very well at this stage. 7 days into healing and my face itches a lot especially at night. It feels like pin pricks and wakes me up. Called the doctor to get some of the super healing lotion you mentioned but my derm is out of town! I wonder if there's anything over the counter that would help.

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